No matter what happens from this point forward, this has been a season to remember for the Nashville Predators. They came into the Stanley Cup playoffs courtesy of the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, and most hockey pundits had them going out early. They stunned the Chicago Blackhawks by shutting them out in the first two games of the series on their way to a sweep. They then ousted the St. Louis Blues and the Anaheim Ducks, both in 6 games, but they have picked up some key injuries along the way. The Predators have been a pleasant surprise this postseason, but the question now is whether they have one more upset win up their sleeves. Can they overtake the defending Stanley Cup champions and take the title back to Nashville for the first time ever? Here are some things they need to do for that to happen. Find the latest hockey betting odds here.
In Depth Analysis On The NHL Predictions For The Predators To Overtake The Penguins
Find a Way to Overcome Injuries
The Nashville Predators are not a team that have a great deal of scoring punch, so there has to be some real concern that they are going to be missing two of their more productive forwards – Kevin Fiala and Ryan Johansen – through the Final. The guys who have been called in as replacements, particularly Colton Sissions, have done a fine job of filling in, but what happens if they get into a shootout type situation with the Penguins? Can these replacement players continue to step up when called upon? If they can, then we might see a long series.
Stay Solid On Defense
If there is a favorite to win the MVP of the NHL playoffs right now, it would surely be Pekka Rinne of the Predators. The simple fact of the matter is that Nashville would not be where they are right now were it not for his heroics between the pipes. Rinne has posted a .941 save percentage and a 1.70 goals against average through the playoffs, and if he can maintain those numbers through this series, there is a better than average chance that the Predators will be hoisting the Stanley Cup. It has not been all Rinne, though, as the defense has remained solid in front of him, and have avoided taking foolish penalties. Tight defense and discipline are key against the high-scoring Penguins.
Take Advantage of the Penguins Injuries
We have already spoke about the impact that injuries might have on the Predators, but very few teams make it to this stage of the season totally unscathed. The Penguins are no different, and they are particularly thin on defense, with the loss of Kris Letang especially troubling. These injuries might offset themselves a little, but the Predators need to look at the weakened Pens blueline as an opportunity to be capitalized on. Pittsburgh are not known for their great defensive play, and with a few guys missing, they may be more exposed than normal. Nashville needs to take advantage of that to win.